Simone Hockins, Queensland Council of Social Service

Last year Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and Queensland Families and Communities Association (QFCA) consulted with neighbourhood and community centres across Queensland.

The report, which was the largest community consultation of its kind in Queensland, found three key themes relating to resourcing, recognition and engagement.

These findings were used to inform the Queensland Government within the Investment Management Services (IMS) workshops in late 2017, leading to a review of the Queensland Government Neighbourhood Centre Program.

Roslyn Wade, the Centre Coordinator for Tara Neighbourhood Centre, was part of the Neighbourhood Centre Consultation in 2017.

She believes the consultation and subsequent report is important as it helps the state government and community better understand the diverse work neighbourhood and community centres do.

“As a community centre, we don’t just do little things… and I think that is what has come out in the report. The community centre is funded to do this little box, but we do so much more,” Roslyn explained.

For the Tara Neighbourhood Centre, the range of work is extensive.

“We are the first point of contact. We take referrals from a variety of services, ranging from police, health, Council and other government departments, schools, aged care services, other non-government organisation and anything in between,” she said.

However the Tara Neighbourhood Centre is not just a referral centre. “If it is too hard, they call us. We have helped a lot of community groups with governance work. When visiting services come, we manage their appointments. Neighbourhood centres are also used by research groups as contact points,” Roslyn said.

“It’s not just little bits. Over the years we’ve been asked do almost anything. Some of the stranger things being help in choosing Lotto numbers or to help search for a wife.”

In the past year, the centre has had well over 1,000 requests for information, advice and referrals, and this does not include any Centrelink or family service requests.  

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